Thank you to Laurie Brown, proprietor of “Our Local Yarn Shop” in Olympia, WA for displaying my “Madness of Mis” shawl at her shop for the Olympia Arts Walk this past weekend.
A little about this project:
For millennia, women’s stories and women’s culture have been silenced, suppressed and misrepresented. This shawl was inspired by the Irish myth, “The Madness of Mis,” (Mis rhymes with wish). It was in Sharon Blackie’s Foxfire, Wolfskin and Other Stories of Shapeshifting Women that I discovered this story that speaks to male violence, nature as refuge and the healing power of love and the arts.
Nature, art and story have been central in my own healing journey. Nature enfolds and inspires me. Creativity anchors me. Myths give life meaning. Alchemy happens at the intersection of nature, art and spirituality.
As a psychiatric nurse I regularly witness the effects of trauma on the human psyche and soul. My intention in creating this shawl was to honor the presence of madness in our world. The color red is an obvious representation of blood, but also courage. The other colors represent the Pacific Northwest, the place I call home, especially the mountains and woodlands where solace and inspiration are found.
“They saved you; they sheltered you from the storms unleashed that day. This mountain mothered you and that forest fathered you; Mad Mis is their holy child. Will you sing the songs that the mountain sang, as you roamed through the folds of her green-and-brown skirts? The deep Gregorian chant of the rocky heights, the tinkling voice of the stream-strewn lowlands. The wind section sounding through close-knit trees. Mother Mountain showed you the way. Brought you to River, whose sparkling, tumbling water washed you clean…How long and beautiful were the feathers you grew for wings; how thick and glossy the fur which clothed your naked body. Oh, it was a fine madness that came upon you then. You could fly; you could run like the wind! You flew from your grief and you ran from your rage; you leapt from tree to tree.” (Blackie, 134)